As I sleepily checked my Face Book page this morning, I noticed that my feed was filled with posts for Remembrance Day, a day of reflection for Australia and other Commonwealth nations.
I paused momentarily to think of the flowers that would be laid at shrines and memorials in memory of those who were lost in the armed forces, the ceremonies that would be held in big cities and small towns alike, and the emblem that is so often associated with this day, the red poppy.
Running late however, I had little time to dally and I took off without another thought.
Like every other Saturday morning, once I left my apartment, I saw groups of children congregating outside the shopping centre. Smartly dressed in their uniforms, the children were seeking donations for charity. The students are usually from a variety of schools and organisations and seem to collect for different charities each week.
It is such a common occurrence on Saturdays to see the students fundraising that as I left the house this morning, I grabbed some spare coins in preparation, so that there would be no awkward rummaging through my purse when I saw them.
Seeing two students, I greeted them and handed over my coins.
Ordinarily, once you have placed your coins into their donation satchel, the student (or sometimes if the student is timid, their mother who may be accompanying them!) Will give you a sticker which will be promptly stuck onto your shoulder or arm, telling others that you have already donated.
Today I didn’t get a sticker, today I got a paper poppy, to my delight. Somewhat more meaningful to me as today Australia takes the time to observe Remembrance Day while I am far away. Quite unexpectedly, I was able to be included in a tradition which is an international one, yet one that is very much entrenched in Australian culture.
“Lest we forget”